Soufrière, Saint Lucia at 11:58am AST.See the trip: 40th Birthday 2012
jackiemcshane72's posts with likes
As it was Gill's birthday and given that we had really broken the back of the climb we treated ourselves to a little brandy coffee, courtesy of American Airlines. Lovely.
We had our usual meal, soup again but noodles this time. Tasty.
Ad we finished off with our hot drinks the porters emerged with a huge birthday cake for Gill. We all sang happy birthday for the 3rd time that day. Gill will surely remember her 40th birthday, if not for the lack of hair accessories, suitable lodgings and a smelly sleeping bag!
We shared the cake with the porters. It was our last camp so seemed a fitting way to say goodbye to our team who had looked after and encouraged us so much.
It seemed daft but actually being clapped back into camp each time was really good. Especially how poorly the others had been on day 2.
As they passed us each time on the trail, carrying our camp, 25kilo's per man we reciprocated the encouragement.
The way all the porters navigated the trail was amazing. Most of them in sandals, carrying huge packs with no need for poles or any of the gear we had. Most were farmers working the high season to bolster their income.
As we were leaving early the next day it was time to say goodbye to our 10 man portering team. They all introduced themselves and Gill presented the chef with our tip. We gave the toilet man an extra cheer (and our apologies), we laughed with the little one who had dared do an auto dance with us and finally we all shook hands. We would go our separate ways tomorrow. Us to Machu Picchu, them to the train home.
Today was Gill's 40th birthday so we started the day by singing happy birthday to her over breakfast. Given the altitude a bottle of M&M's from the shop in NYC was the only celebratory drink.
Gill had suffered with altitude sickness really badly on day 2 so it was a relief that she was feeling better for her birthday.
We all thought day 3 was going to be easier. And it was but still hard in a different way. 15km to cover before darkness came at 6pm, so another 530am alarm call from the porters. Room service as usual, with cocoa tea and hot water arriving at the tent.
After day 2 we thought we had done it. Broken the back. Oh how we were wrong!
We had done the climb but not the distance and needed to descend. So off we went.
Another 5am start, farmers hours. Good breakfast and joy of an easy day.
It started with a climb. Bloody steps. In the rain. Not as a bad as day 2 but still tough. The jungle was around us.
Still some of our group had sickness. We are a team we stay together. Up we went.
Then down. Down. Down. Down. If you are a walker you know that's tough. And down big steps. Big steps.
After day 2 it was hell. We thought we had done it. But we had 15km to go. Long day.
The climb was hard. Bloody hard. The steps steep. Not good for short legs. But we kept going.
Most if us (not me) had sickness, oxygen on the mountain as it took its toil. It was steep and hot. But wonderful. The surroundings were awesome.
No one gave in. We reached the top. I cried. My friends had suffered but made it. Proud.